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Structure of Mafia crime family

A caporegime or capodecina, usually shortened to just a capo, is a term used in the Mafia for a high-ranking made member of a crime family who heads a "crew" of soldiers and has major social status and influence in the organization. Caporegime is an Italian word, which is used to signify the head of a family in Sicily, but has now come to mean a ranking member, similar to captain or senior sergeant in a military unit. In general, the term indicates the head of a branch of an organized crime syndicate who commands a crew of soldiers and reports directly to a boss or an underboss.


The Mafia, particularly the American Mafia, is typically divided into distinct and partially independent "crews" headed by a "capo" or leader of the individuals. Individual crew members report to the capo. The crew collects protection and other money for the capo, who at regular intervals gives a share (or "taste") of the collected money to the underboss and/or the boss. Estimates of average income of a capo varies and is difficult to quantify. Income is dependent on the success and size of a capo's crew and the state of the economy at the time.

Mafia crews are usually independent from each other, with members typically operating strictly within their own crew. Asking Mafia members how many crews and how many individuals are in a family is prohibited because of the Mafia's oath of secrecy and the suspicion that the inquiring individual might be an informant.

Sometimes a crew might specialize in certain areas like gambling, while other crews might be more involved in legitimate interests like construction. A crew might also operate in certain geographical areas.

The number of caporegimes/crews depends on the size of a family. The Gambino crime family has had more than 20 capos whereas the St. Louis crime family has had few.


In the Mafia, when a boss makes a decision, he passes instructions down through the chain of command. This ranking system protects the higher levels of the organization from incrimination if a lower level member should be arrested by law enforcement.[original research?] A caporegime acts as an intermediary between the soldiers and the boss. Effectively, a caporegime operates his own small family within the framework of a larger family.

Each capo is in charge of a mini-gang or a crew of soldiers and associates that can range greatly in size. These men may or may not be based in close proximity. For example, Bonanno crime family capo Joey Gambino had crew members spread throughout New York's five boroughs and even had crew members operating in New Jersey. Capos have varying degrees of power. Some are relatives or close friends of the boss, which gives them more influence. A capo with an active crew that generates a lot of profits is always respected. For example, the Gambino family boss [capo?], John Gotti, was widely respected and tolerated due to the profits his crew generated for the family. Despite their various blunders and mistakes, they successfully avoided getting killed by their superiors and were tolerated due to this fact. On the other hand, capo Joe Sferra of the DeCavalcante crime family was demoted to soldier and removed from his lucrative union post in June 1965 after a series of blunders. In 1984, a more severe loss of power occurred to Salvatore "Salvie" Testa, a once rising Philadelphia crime family capo. He ended up getting murdered by Nicky Scarfo due to the suspicions raised about his loyalty.

A caporegime may also have certain areas [?] he protects with his crew or certain rackets such as labor racketeering, numbers running, and other forms of organized crime.[citation needed] The capo's crew members may each have their own criminal activity going on with their legitimate business ventures, while the capo may have his own business or a legitimate job in order to file tax returns.[citation needed]

Fictional caporegimes[edit]

Fictional caporegimes from The Godfather include Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio, who were capos in the fictional Corleone family because they were good friends with Don Vito Corleone. Fictional capos from the HBO television series The Sopranos include: "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri, Christopher Moltisanti, Lawrence Barese, Vito Spatafore, Carlo Gervasi, Raymond Curto, and Bobby Baccalieri. In the video game Grand Theft Auto III, protagonist Toni Cipriani is a capo in the Leone crime family.

See also[edit]


  • Capeci, Jerry. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia. Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2002. ISBN 0-02-864225-2.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caporegime — Please support Wikipedia.
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3595 videos foundNext > 

The godfather the game- Promotion to Caporegime.

This video will show you what happens when you reach the rank of Capo in the family. No HD available this time, or it would have screwed up the vid -.- .

CAPO REGIME - Pissed Up Punks

CAPO REGIME - Pissed Up Punks Pissed Up Punks.

Capo Regime - Same Old Story

Performed at Holidays in the Sun Festival, UK.

CAPO REGIME - Underdog

CAPO REGIME - Underdog Pissed Up Punks.

Capo Regime

Capo Regime. Live at The Shebang, Bournemouth 12/04/2014.

Capo TV (Capo Regime)

CapoTV - Montebello, CA - Young Droop - Dolla Figga Ese - Capo Regime.

CAPO REGIME - "10:28" / "Sunshine Queen"

Two songs from old school British punk band CAPO REGIME (Ryde, IOW UK) playing at a private party in the mountains near Tárbena, Spain on Thursday the 5th of...

CAPO REGIME - "Texas Rose" / "Baby Goes"

Two songs from old school British punk band CAPO REGIME (Ryde, IOW UK) playing at a private party in the mountains near Tárbena, Spain on Thursday the 5th of...

Capo Regime - Interview by Stuart Newman

The interview & concert took place at The Winter Gardens, Blackpool, Holidays In The Sun in 1996, as the 20th Anniversary of Punk Rock, promoted by Darren Ru...

Capo Regime - Cellar Bar, Bournemouth 12 April 2014 pt2 The Shebang 2014

3595 videos foundNext > 

3 news items

Malaysia Chronicle
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 19:15:25 -0700

He was once named one of Fortune magazine's top 50 Wealthiest and Most Powerful Mafia Bosses. As a caporegime (Mafia term for captain) for the notorious Colombo crime family, which dominated organised crime in New York City for decades, Mr Michael ...
Le Huffington Post
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 05:19:39 -0700

Cette scène du parrain me vient en tête où le caporegime Clemenza (Richard Pellegrino) enseigne à Michaël Corleone (Al Pacino) comment faire la sauce des pâtes avec des saucisses et des boulettes de viande: "Viens ici, petit, apprends quelque chose.
La Bottega di Hamlin
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 06:52:30 -0700

Scarpa è stato un caporegime al soldo della famiglia mafiosa Colombo: avrebbe confessato di avere ammazzato circa cinquanta persone (oltre ai membri della sua famiglia biologica) e nell'ambiente era noto con i soprannomi “Il cappellaio matto” e “Il ...

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